Allegiant Air leaving OWB airport

Allegiant Air leaving OWB airport
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:25 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2023 at 6:16 PM CDT
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Allegiant Air is pulling out of the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

OWB director Tristan Durbin confirms the announcement.

“Excited to see what the future holds, sad to hear the news about allegiant,” said Destination Manager for Visit Owensboro Dave Kirk.

Kirk says it’s not news they were hoping to learn of, but he doesn’t think it will affect too much of the city’s tourism.

“We are definitely a drive community for most people, but it’s obviously disappointing news,” Kirk said.

Durbin says it came as a shock to the airport as well, but they will continue looking for other airlines to get service into OWB.

“Although we are disappointed that Allegiant will be leaving, we will take this opportunity to continue to target and recruit other airlines to provide service for the Owensboro/Daviess County community,” Durbin said.

In a statement that Allegiant Air sent to 14 News, it cited economic reasons for the decision. Allegiant says the nationwide pilot shortage and limited resources forced their hand.

“Cape Air will continue service,” Durbin said. “Twice daily to Nashville and once daily to St. Louis until that decision is made.”

The decision Durbin is referring to is the possibility of Charlotte flights coming to OWB, but they are awaiting approval.

With Allegiant out of the picture beginning May 30, Cape Air is the last airline standing.

It’s unknown whether flights to Florida will return, but Allegiant says that if demand is high and they have the resources, they could return.

“It [the airport] is so convenient and so easy, so I’m confident that Tristan and his team will bring in somebody else that people will be happy with and take advantage of,” Kirk said.

You can read the airport’s full statement below.

“Allegiant Air will be discontinuing service to and from the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport after the flight occurring on May 29th, 2023. Any passenger that has purchased travel beyond May 29 will receive a full refund from Allegiant Air.

This news comes after more than 14 years of service to and from OWB. Allegiant informed the Airport that due to various economic factors including rising fuel prices and crew and aircraft availability that they will no longer be able to provide service from OWB. Allegiant recognized OWB’s efforts throughout the 14-year partnership and complimented the staff and airport’s hard work, dedication, and low cost over the years. Doug Hoyt, OWB Airport Board Chair commented, “We are disappointed in Allegiant’s decision to leave Owensboro. We have enjoyed a 14-year relationship and welcome the opportunity to have discussions with them to return to OWB in the future. We wish them the best moving forward.”

OWB will continue to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) to St. Louis and Nashville until the DOT selects a carrier to serve OWB. The OWB board recommended Contour Airlines to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport as an EAS provider that would hopefully start early this summer. OWB will continue to stay in touch with Allegiant as well as other airlines for future opportunities for service options from OWB. Tristan Durbin, Airport Director stated, “Although it is disappointing that Allegiant will be leaving, we will continue to work hard towards recruiting other airlines to provide service to the Owensboro-Daviess County community.”

Evansville Regional Airport says Allegiant will still serve at its airport, and they have extended their schedule through mid-November.

EVV officials say Allegiant has also added more flights at EVV in October to include Saturdays.

Allegiant says their decision to leave OWB “was not made lightly but is unavoidable at this time.”

You can read the rest of their statement below.

“Unfortunately, we will be ending our service at Owensboro. Our last flight at the airport will be in May. Please know this decision was not made lightly but is unavoidable at this time. When assigning equipment and crew throughout our network, our planning team must consider a variety of factors, including demand and available crew to staff the flights. The ongoing industry-wide pilot shortage is forcing airlines across the country to reallocate labor resources, and Allegiant is no exception.

We began service at OWB in 2009. We’re grateful to the Owensboro community for supporting Allegiant, and to the airport for their partnership over the years. We will continue to provide air service to the community through Evansville. We are currently in the process of notifying customers whose flights will be affected.

To give you some background, Allegiant is unique among airlines as a low-cost carrier that is 100 percent focused on leisure travel. As a rule, we consider all our routes to be seasonal, because our business model is built to give us the flexibility to start and stop service as industry dynamics evolve. Our network planning team will continue to assess our current and past markets and adjust service accordingly. If circumstances change and demand is high, we could return to OWB in the future.”

Allegiant is currently in the process of refunding customers who have flights scheduled after May 29.